Friday, May 12, 2017

Figuratively Speaking - Fiesta

6"x6" oil
My grandson used to live close by, however, and alas, they have moved across the country.  Initially we would take him to a Mexican restaurant every year for his birthday.  They sang to him, gave him a balloon, and he got to wear a sombrero.  One day he told me he could speak 3 languages, American, English and Spanish.  American because, well, he is.  English because his dad is British, and Spanish because of the restaurant.  It is funny what we hold close to our hearts and carry freshly in our minds from our experiences in the past.  Recently, I remembered something from junior high journalism class.  I had a great teacher.  She really taught and valued the intellectual curiosity of her students.  One day she said, "The biggest problem with propaganda is that eventually people will believe nothing."  It struck me at the time like a light bulb going on.  I really thought about it, but didn't have any personal experience to back it up.  It was a bit like the story of the boy crying wolf.  At the end of the year it was a question on the final exam.  Of course I remembered it, and amazingly she told me I was the only one in the class that got it right and that someday it would mean something to me.  In this age of fake news and Russians influencing what we think by interfering in what is leaked, that phrase really does mean something to me.  For all of our differences, I hope Americans can come to grips with who we are.  I don't want to live in a country made up of radical factions that are at war with each other.  Really, are we not just a ginormous tribe?  Go figure!

Thursday, May 4, 2017

Figuratively Speaking - Oh My!

6"x6" oil
I frequently hear this phrase from the "experts,"  Paint What You Love.  I think there is wisdom in that.  I paint a lot of different things, but I always love painting children.  Well, not really children, but painting images of children.  I like my children unadorned and natural, certainly not covered in paint.  I can see things I would have done differently if I was starting this painting again.  Things I know but frequently forget, but all in all, I loved doing it and am happy with the results.  Go Figure!

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Figuratively Speaking - New Consumers

10"x10" oil
Some of my concerns have been sneaking into my paintings lately.  I try not to be overly political or socially opinionated, but we all have issues that matter to us.  I love painting children, especially in poses that are natural and not posed.  These three Tweeners are conversing about something important in front of a fashion art poster.  I have 3 granddaughters so I am paying attention to the influences our culture has on them.  I heard the phrase "Pester Power" in terms referring to children influencing the buying habits of their parents.  I don't think this is new, it just seems more excessive and high dollar.  I remember pestering my mom to buy me the shoes I wanted.  There were tears involved.  I lost.  I got sturdy tie up shoes instead.  "No," was common in my parents' vocabulary. I am concerned about how advertising is helping to define how the young girls see themselves and forming a picture for them of what it means to be a girl.  On the other hand, I love to see my girls dressed in their lovely pink dresses as they explore the world and discover its magic and mysteries...like catching salamanders!  I may have to paint this scene!  Go Figure

Monday, May 1, 2017

Figuratively Speaking - Too Young

6"x6" oil
The background painting is located at the Musee d'Orsay in Paris, which is my favorite art museum, so far.  I love the building which was completed at the end of the 19th century as a station for electric trains and an accompanying hotel.  It was renovated as a museum which opened in 1986. It is spectacular architecturally as well as the collection which spans the years 1848-1915 of western hemisphere art. The Impressionists  paintings make up a good portion of the collection.  This painting, The Red Ball, is by Felix Vallotton.  The flatness and odd horizon line of the painting give a sense of a child running after the ball and away from his/her caretakers.  It invokes a sense of insecurity, hence (in part) my title Too Young.  The second meaning has to do with the visitors pictured here.  We all know that obesity is epidemic with the US rating 6th in the world.  So "too young" refers to the generations of young people who are sacrificing good health for high calorie and low nutritional content foods.  I find it an interesting juxtaposition. Perhaps more of us should be running after that little red ball. Why am I thinking about chocolate right now???   Go Figure!

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Figuratively Seaking - Idyllic Happiness

8"x10" oil
What is "Idyllic Happiness" to you?  This art lover is probably feeling pretty happy looking at beautiful paintings and carrying around her front papoose.  Giving birth to a perfect and healthy little one is a pretty good moment.  They painting she is looking at is by Gauguin, painted in 1897.  It is a representation of  Vairumati who is a legendary figure of the Maori people.  Gauguin was at a low point in his life when he painted this scene representing "Idyllic Happiness."  His colors are bright and cheerful even though he was suffering from syphilis and was feeling suicidal.  It is weird how so many artists of fame have such tragic stories and yet they have brought such joy to millions who have viewed their art.  Ironic isn't it?   Go Figure.... 

Friday, April 28, 2017

Figuratively Speaking - Seeking Approval

6"x6" oil
We certainly spend a good part of our lives seeking approval.  Whenever I meet someone who is not seeking approval, I admire them for their authenticity.  Unfortunately, frequently they have pronounced anti-social behaviors that keep them from feeling comfortable in the company of others. Like anything, there is a balance.  It works to seek approval as it validates our achievements, helps us to understand our tribes, and teaches us what social norms are appropriate.  The problem lies in how much approval we seek, from whom we seek it, and what are our motivations.  It can be crippling and keep us from achieving that authenticity that I frequently see in those on the fringes.  On the other hand, some of the most authentic people I have met are deeply spiritual.  They seek approval from a higher being and are freed up to be gentle and generous here in the Earthly realm.  In not seeking the approval of others, they are able to find joy in moments we are given and therefore give back what they can.  I admire this and it is something that exists both in and out of religious affiliation.  It is interesting though that some very religious people are also the ones who are least authentic and most judgemental. I am choosing to be as authentic as I can....but, I still care what you think about my painting....go figure!

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Figuratively Speaking-Yoga Meditation Art

6"x6" oil
The wall painting is a Rothko.  I have gained a deeper appreciation for his work recently in my efforts to understand color.  I have heard myself (talking in my head) say, "I could spend the rest of my life studying color theory and application, and never get it all."  I think that is what Rothko (in part) spent his art career doing.  Sometimes, even when at a prestigious art museum, our bodies find a need for a little Yoga.  While her friend meditates on the Rothko, she is stretching her quads.  I spend a lot of my time doing art and doing Yoga.  It is the only way I can keep my body happy and keep my disposition positive.  Right now, I am also doing a significant amount of garden preparation which has kicked up my need for Yoga, as well as, chiropractic care and a desire for massage.  I am really excited to be getting ready to grow things and have kicked it off with an obsession with sprouting seeds and grains to eat.  It is hard work staying healthy.  I still need my chocolate though....go figure!

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